Men’s Cross Country Takes Second at NECC Championship as Holden, Smith Garner All-Conference Honors

mens cross country all-conference members
mens cross country all-conference members

WESTFIELD, Mass. – Southern Vermont College took to the 5000 meter Stanley Park course Sunday morning and finished as the runner up in the 2018 New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) Men's Cross Country Championship.

The Mountaineers' four-year title run came to an end as Dean College hoisted the trophy with 48 team points. SVC landed a pair of runners in the top five to chalk up 61 points on the day.

Bennington College sophomore C.G. Holden (Pittsburg, Pa.) was first across the line for Southern Vermont as he came through second overall with a time of 29:27. That helped him collect his second All-NECC First Team honor after he placed fifth overall in 2017.

Mountaineer junior Davanté Smith (Ellenville, N.Y.) took home First Team honors for the third-straight year as he finished second for SVC and fifth overall at 29:55.

"C.G. and Davanté making First Team All-Conference is a testament to all of their hard work this year and over the summer," said Southern Vermont second-year head coach Jarrett Blankenship. "Both guys really stepped up big and gave us a heavy punch up front. I'm really happy to have the opportunity to coach them both again next year."

Blankenship, who was voted at the league's Coach of the Year by his peers, also selected Smith to the Del Malloy Sportsmanship Team.

"I picked Davanté and Maddy [Main] for the sportsmanship awards because they have always encouraged not only our team—but the teams around them really well," Blankenship said of his men's and women's sportsmanship honorees. "At the end of the day, they are just happy to be competing and being a part of community of runners. They both have a solid understanding of what being a supportive teammate and competitor looks like.

"Winning Coach of the Year is really humbling in a conference that has several strong, deserving coaches," Blankenship added. "I am extremely proud to represent my team in this way. This award is representative of the positive relationship I have with my athletes and their willingness to work hard and to trust the process."

The final three Mountaineers stayed close together and came through in a bunch with two of them notching personal bests. Freshman Marcus Tucker (Greenwich, N.Y.) knocked off 3:25 from his previous record to come in third for the team at 33:37, and senior Jackson Amankrah (New York City, N.Y.) concluded his collegiate career with a new PR by shaving off 58 seconds for a 34:02.

2nd – C.G. Holden: 29:27
5th – Davante Smith: 29:55
22nd – Marcus Tucker: 33:57 (PR)
23rd – Isaiah Backels: 34:01
24th – Jackson Amankrah: 34:02 (PR)